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Old 26-11-2017, 13:16   #1
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Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

I’ve seen people use various rigs to collect rainwater on a sailboat, but I’ve never seen anyone use the deck scuppers. Why not?

With a y-valve underneath the scuppers I could wait until the rain washes the deck of salt and then divert it into my fresh water tanks.

I’d think some basic filtration (dirt/sand on the deck) and chlorination (bird poop, etc) would make this a viable system.

Anyone doing this?
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Old 26-11-2017, 13:31   #2
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

A lot of European yachts don't have scuppers, instead an aluminium rail with punched holes along the edge of the deck.

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Old 26-11-2017, 13:43   #3
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

Ah yes... a lack of scuppers would be problematic...
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Old 26-11-2017, 14:26   #4
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

What I did a couple of time in heavy downpour is to use a beach towel to make a dam just aft of the potable water inlet and unscrew the bung.

I used one of those reusable fine metal coffee filter. Modified it (cut-out bottom part) and force it into the water inlet to provide a primary filtration.

Would wait a bit for the rain to clean the deck, than use a rag on every scuppers (located on same side as water inlet) to plug them so water level could raise.

Amazing how much water we could take in in a short period of time!!

P.s Everytime I did that I also had a good shower myself...
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Old 26-11-2017, 14:48   #5
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

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What I did a couple of time in heavy downpour is to use a beach towel to make a dam just aft of the potable water inlet and unscrew the bung.

I used one of those reusable fine metal coffee filter
Smart and simple, nice!
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Old 26-11-2017, 15:32   #6
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

It takes a while for the rain to wash off a teak deck though. And even then it tastes yuck.

I think one of the challenges is many rains last short. At least this seems to be the case on tradewind passages, where extra water would be treats.

Give it a shot. It is done. How well it works for you, you must give it a try and see.

BTW we have collected up to 120 liters per night in heavy Caribbean rainfall. From the dinghy.

Cheers,
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Old 26-11-2017, 21:53   #7
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

Friends of ours used the scuppers method.

First, after it's been raining a bit, clean the deck, then jam the tygon hose section in the perf toerail, place the towel dam, and let it fill the bucket, then syphon from the buckets into the tank.

On our boat, we catch into collapsible 5 gallon jugs from off the awning. Ours are clear enough we can see if there is particulate contamination. I think the water tastes fine.

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Old 27-11-2017, 05:51   #8
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

I would be disinclined to capture water flowing off a deck simply because of the contaminates that collect on the deck including, in particular, mold, dried salt and bird droppings. It would take a good long hard rainfall to adequately clear away such detritus and, if underway, heavy rainfall is often accompanied by big seas some of which invariably make their way on deck. In any case, it would seem very unwise to direct collected water directly into one's fresh water tank(s) because of potential contamination of one's entire supply.

While we haven't had to do so for a long time, at one point we did collect rainwater run-off from our mainsail by suspending a lengthy Sunbrella pouch under the boom, the end near the goose neck being fitted with a small plastic thru-hull to which a length of plastic tubing was attached. The tubing was run into 5 gallon collapsible water bottles. Before introducing the collected water to our tanks, we dumped it into a 5 gallon bucket with a lid fitted with a small Whale Gusher hand pump. The discharge side of that pump was connected to a mid-sized canister type water filter fitted with a sediment and activated charcoal filter element. The canister discharge was then run into our tank together with a small measured dose of water disinfectant. While the foregoing might seem a little complicated, it really wasn't, with the entire kit being held in the 5 gallon filter bucket until needed (including the collection pouch once it had dried). Fifteen gallon of water collected in a heavy downfall would last us quite awhile between shore-side watering stops.

FWIW...
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Old 27-11-2017, 06:08   #9
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine1983 View Post
I’ve seen people use various rigs to collect rainwater on a sailboat, but I’ve never seen anyone use the deck scuppers. Why not?

With a y-valve underneath the scuppers I could wait until the rain washes the deck of salt and then divert it into my fresh water tanks.

I’d think some basic filtration (dirt/sand on the deck) and chlorination (bird poop, etc) would make this a viable system.

Anyone doing this?
We have given this serious thought many years ago as our deck scuppers would be perfect for putting a Y valve in to divert to the tank. The reason we decided against this is forgetting the valve is on the Tank setting and then going to sea. All it takes is one time and you have contaminated your fresh water supply.

I find with age that occasionally things slip my mind.

What we do is similar to what others have stated
1. Let the rain give the deck a good rinse

2. Insert some pieces of paper towels into the 3 holes in our wood toe rail. By leaving the small pieces of towel extend onto the deck this also acts as a trap for any loose particles.

3. Insert Jabsco fine screen into deck fill
Jabsco Pumpgard Replacement Fine Strainer Screen - Screen Only

4. Lay a towel down to act as a dam.

We do not have teak decks

Safe sailing

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Old 27-11-2017, 08:50   #10
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

I did install a Y-Valve below the deck scupper to collect rain water after scrubbing the deck, BUT used a tube to fill 5 gallon 'Jerry Cans' instead of going directly to my water tanks. Used that for non-potable purposes first and would pour it in the tanks through a filter if necessary. Worked well for several years in the Caribbean.
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Old 27-11-2017, 09:02   #11
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

There are a couple vloggers that have done this and have very well done youtube videos. Sorry, don't have time to look those up right now but you can search them in Youtube.

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Old 27-11-2017, 10:11   #12
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

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Originally Posted by brucebach View Post
I did install a Y-Valve below the deck scupper to collect rain water after scrubbing the deck, BUT used a tube to fill 5 gallon 'Jerry Cans' instead of going directly to my water tanks. Used that for non-potable purposes first and would pour it in the tanks through a filter if necessary. Worked well for several years in the Caribbean.
My thinking exactly. Differentiate between fresh water and potable water. A good way the conserve on potable water. You can shower in and wash dishes in water you wouldn't feel to comfortable drinking or cooking with. In a pinch better than salt maybe?
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Old 27-11-2017, 10:19   #13
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

Our Sunward 48 came with a valve system to divert scupper water to the water tank. We have used it a few times, once in Dominica where we had a good strong rain that filled our 400 gal tank in less than 20 minutes.

The system has two valves. One valve stops the flow of water to a sea drain and the other valve allows water to fill the tanks. First during a long hard rain we wash the teak deck and clean the gutters. Next we shut off the drain to the sea, leaving the tank valve closed. This causes water to back up in the scupper and also allows us to rinse out the "neck" piping before the valve going to the tank. We may do this several times to wash out any dirt or animal droppings that may have been made while on the hard. Then we leave the sea drain shut and open the tank valve. It is important to monitor the water coming into the tank since it flows in faster than a water hose and the tank valve must be closed before the tank is full.
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Old 27-11-2017, 12:44   #14
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

Seagul crap in the drinking water can give you a rummy tummy. If you want to collect rainwater rig a rain collector which you have kept clean. Deck water collected and heavily chlorinated would oprobably be OK--but if it were I, I would only use it for washing down the decks, laundry, perhaps showers or flushing the heads. I would not use it for drinking unless treated or boiled.

My rain collector is just a large through-hull fitting mounterd into a heavy plastic silver tarpaulin, tarpaulin which is strung between the rigging and bowsed down lightly with shock cord. To the hull fitting is mounted a non-toxic PVC hose which leads to the water tanks inlet deac fitting and is rolled up after use. I have used the shiock cord in case a gust of wind suddenly gets under it, and it will give rather than tear. It only takes about ten minutes or so to rig it, and it will completely fill the tanks in a heavy downpour in less than an hour. Hot showers for all.

Using the coach house roof as a catcher is fine as long as you give it a good scrub with disinfectant and give it time to wash clear before you begin collection.

I can not stress too highly the need to guard against fecal bacteria in the water supply. Chlorinating it is the only safe way--even with water collected from a clean catcher. I use Milton tablets. About one tablet to twenty litres of water and let it sit for a few hours before using it. The only other way besides sterilant tablets is to boil all of your drinking water--which is something many of us has had to do when water supplies run low and one is anchored in strange places.
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Old 27-11-2017, 13:09   #15
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Re: Deck scuppers for rainwater collection

Kinda odd to hear an Aussie with Mike's phobia towards collected rainwater for drinking. It's not just yotties who routinely drink the stuff, but thousands of rural Australians who rely upon roof-top collection for all their domestic water supplies.

Jim
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